The planned 1,000m2 meadow is located on an area of the nature reserve which remains damp and often waterlogged during wet periods of weather. We have also given it a helping hand during the spring of 2016 by digging some ‘scrapes’ into the area. ‘Scrapes’ are shallow ponds which help by holding even more water, water that will benefit a multitude of nature’s mini beasts. They will attract a wide range of insects that breed in-and-around the standing water and damp vegetation, which will provide a valuable food source for other St Nicks wildlife. Over time we hope to see numerous bird species such as wagtails and water rails, endangered mammals such hedgehogs and bats, amphibians such as frogs and newts and also other many other insect predators including dragonflies and damselflies.
We have raised funds for this project though the Downstreams crowdfunding platform. Our target was £950 which we reached thanks to generous donations from our supporters and local companies. A particularly huge thanks though goes out to Hungate York LendLease who donated over half of total amount, plus The Landscape Agency and Peter Duffy Ltd. who also made sizable donations to the project.
The next stage is buying and planting out 600 native wetland plants to further enhance the habitat for an even more diverse number of species. A range of wildflowers, grasses, rushes and sedges, which thrive in damper and wet conditions, will provide important feeding areas for our favourite pollinators such as bumblebees and hoverflies, and butterflies and moths, as well creating refuge and new feeding ground for our populations of water vole.
The first round of planting took place on 4th June 2016 when our dedicated volunteers managed to plant over 300 plants. Some, such as the ragged robin, were already in flower a few days later and visited by bumblebees, which were seen during watering necessitated by warm dry weather. We will continue the planting and care of the area on our Practical Conservation Work Days every Tuesday and Thursday so if you would like to get involved in creating this important habitat please get in touch.
If you can’t make those days then don’t let that stop you visiting another time and over the next year. You’re sure to see more bees buzzing and colourful dragonflies darting amongst the plants, yellow wagtails running around looking for a meal or maybe, one day, even hear the ‘plop’ of a water vole as it dives into one of the scrapes!